REVIEW: Parallel Lines by Steven Savile

Series: N/A

Book Number: N/A

Read this book for: criminal’s perspective, cover-up, thriller, multi-plot, suspense, heist, bank robbery

Quick Review: A fantastically plotted, tight, tense and fresh take on a heist story, PARALLEL LINES will grab you and hold you to the end.


Adam Shaw is dying, and knows he’ll leave his disabled son with nothing. His solution? Rob a bank. It’s no surprise that things go wrong. What is surprising is that when another customer is accidentally shot, no one in the bank is in a hurry to hand Adam over to the police. There’s the manager who’s desperate to avoid an audit, the security guard with a serious grudge, and the woman who knows exactly how bad the victim really was… Eight people, twelve hours, one chance to cover up a murder. But it’s not just the polices they have to fool. When so many lives intersect, the results can be explosive.

PARALLEL LINES is not Steven Savile’s first novel, and it shows in his mastery of the pace and suspense of a truly enjoyable thriller.

I have to admit some initial scepticism when I first read the description of this book; I wondered how an author could possibly keep a single event – a robbery and the negotiation with and over the hostages about covering up an accidental murder – interesting for almost 400 pages. I should not have worried. PARALLEL LINES had me riveted from the start.

Savile packs the plot with action, while keeping everything tight and well-paced. It was a true joy to watch various elements of characters’ backstories come together to drive the narrative. Then he adds several believable unknowns to the mix just to keep you guessing. No long, protracted negotiations here, even though much of the book centres around the group deciding how they are going to describe the event to police. These people are carrying enough baggage that has the potential for overlap that it keeps any such conversation very interesting, neatly avoiding the trap of long, slow and protracted dialogue sequences.

And these character backstories make the novel even faster and more compelling. Savile cuts from the main action (the bank robbery) to have us follow several of the characters on several sides of the story on what led them to the bank that day, and to give us a glimpse into places where their paths may have crossed before. Some are surprising, and not all are completely story-critical – as that would be too convenient and forced. These asides help to drive the pace of the novel and really get you invested in how each of the characters might ultimately handle the situation. And the way they resolve it is satisfying – you have to keep reading to find out what will happen, because so often it seems almost impossible for them to succeed in what they are trying to do.

If you’re a thriller fan, or love a good suspenseful novel, absolutely read PARALLEL LINES right away. This is definitely one of those books you will not want to put down once you pick it up, so make sure you’ve cleared a few hours when you do!

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